Here are the bills the Kansas Legislature should — and shouldn't — have spent its time on this session
Oh, Kansas Legislature.
Each year, we want to praise you for putting the people of Kansas first. And each year, it’s honestly a bit of a struggle. You all spend so much time doing nonsensical things, while ignoring the very real struggles of many in our state.
So without further ado, then, here’s what the Legislature should have worked on this session. And what they shouldn’t have bothered with.
Should have: Medicaid expansion
We know that expanding the KanCare program will help rural hospitals. We know it will help thousands upon thousands upon thousands of uninsured Kansans. What makes this worse is that we suspect the House and Senate would pass the bill, but leadership has spent this year and last actively blocking consideration. Now that the American Rescue Plan is offering additional federal funds, the lack of action looks even more foolish.
Shouldn’t have: Banning transgender women in school sports
We wrote about this before, and our words still stand. Legislators addressed a nonexistent problem. They singled out a tiny number of youths for further persecution. They should be ashamed.
Should have: Medical marijuana
With Colorado, Oklahoma and Missouri offering medical marijuana options (and even more in the first case), it’s long overdue for Kansas to pass medical marijuana legislation. We all know that prohibition hasn’t worked in the past, and it doesn’t work now. Every year the Legislature doesn't take action, we're further behind our neighboring states.
Shouldn’t have: Adults under 21 can conceal carry guns
This one is simple. If we won’t sell alcohol to those under 21 because we’re concerned about the quality of their decision making, why should they be allowed to conceal carry deadly weapons?
Should have: Sports betting
We know that sports betting will happen eventually, and there’s a way to offer it legally. Unfortunately, this appears to be an issue of state casinos wanting the full pie, so legislation keeps facing obstacles. Allowing wagering in a broader array of locations would give rural bowling alleys and the like a tool to bring customers to their venues.
Shouldn’t have: Voter-suppression bills
Although negotiations between the House and Senate made these proposals less bad, they’re still unnecessary. Kansas had no real problems in the 2020 election. The same is true of our nation as a whole. Joe Biden won and Donald Trump lost. These are simple, inarguable facts that have been too often ignored or propagating a big lie. Kansas lawmakers should be smart enough to understand that.
Lawmakers aren’t done, of course. Gov. Laura Kelly has the opportunity to veto these bad bills, and a legislative veto session is scheduled for next month. Let’s hope some worthwhile legislation makes it through before the 2021 session comes to an end.